What’s Next? UFC: Tampa Thoughts and Results

by Lance Carpenter

The Octagon brought Florida-Man violence and two egregious split decisions on Saturday night, capped with a dominant, statement performance from Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Following a rumor surrounding a difficult weight cut, the former strawweight queen silenced all critics, not only making weight relatively easily but also completely dismantling Michelle Waterson, who was riding a three-fight win streak, and calling out the current champion Weili Zhang. The ugly side of the night hid behind two shockingly terrible split decisions against Gerald Meerschaert and Luis Pena, both of whom should have won their respective fights in the eyes of any half-knowledgable viewer. Bad judging is part of the game, and the sooner everyone can swallow Saturday’s fumble the sooner they can get another fight booked and get back on track. Here are the full results and some thoughts on the futures of the night’s fighters:

RESULTS:

Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Michelle Waterson via Unanimous Decision

Cub Swanson def. Kron Gracie via Unanimous Decision

Niko Price def. James Vick via KO (upkick), Rd. 1

Amanda Ribas def. Mackenzie Dern via Unanimous Decision

Matt Frevola def. Luis Pena via Split Decision

Eryk Anders def. Gerald Meerschaert via Split Decision

Ryan Spann def. Devin Clark via Submission (guillotine), Rd. 2

Mike Davis def. Thomas Gifford via KO (punch), Rd. 3

Alex Morono def. Max Griffin via Unanimous Decision

Deiveson Figueiredo def. Tim Elliot via Submission (guillotine), Rd. 1

Marlon Vera def. Andre Ewell via TKO (elbows and punches), Rd. 3

Miguel Baeza def. Hector Aldana via TKO (leg kicks and elbows), Rd. 1

Marvin Vettori def. Andrew Sanchez via Unanimous Decision

JJ Aldrich def. Lauren Mueller via Unanimous Decision

Joanna Jedrzejczyk: The former undisputed strawweight champion performed in her truest form last night, outclassing Michelle Waterson on every level and leaving her bloody. It was a glorious sight. Waterson’s only avenue, it seemed, was to scramble to Joanna’s back and lock an arm around her neck before she could respond or Waterson herself could get the appropriate hooks in. Joanna easily slipped out of two RNC attempts, answered with elbows and threatened a submission of her own midway through the fight. She looked reasonably terrifying, the queen of old, and I believe the next step for Joanna Champion is a shot at the champion, Weili Zhang, sometime early next year. As much as the public wants Tatiana Suarez as the next title challenger, I believe that may be a step too early for her. Book Zhang/Joanna and Andrade/Suarez within the next 4 months and the division will sort itself out.

Cub Swanson: Swanson is one of the good guys, and it was great to see him get back in the win column over a dangerous Kron Gracie, who looked flatfooted and unresponsive in the striking department and didn’t put enough urgency in takedown attempts. Gracie attempted to pull guard on a few occasions but Swanson, slippery, maneuvered and invited him back to the feet. Cub always brings it, and still wants the title. I’d like to see him get a new contract soon and fight someone just outside the top 15, possibly Darren Elkins or Andre Fili, to get back on track. On another note, could this fight be a preview of the fight between Brian Ortega and Korean Zombie later this year? Ortega’s striking is more advanced than Gracie’s, but similarly underdeveloped compared to Jung. Time will tell, but I have an ominous feeling.

Marlon Vera: How fun is watching this guy? Since a decision loss to a very good Douglas Andrade, Chito Vera has won 5 in a row, each in violent, emphatic fashion. He has a style I personally salivate over, with a furnace-clinch, dangerous submissions and wild unpredictability. I will always tune into his fights. He locked horns with Andre Ewell this weekend and while this outing lasted a little longer than we’re used to, he never looked in any sort of danger and landed hellacious strikes both in the clinch and on the floor. He is only 26. I want Vera rebooked against Thomas Almeida immediately.

FIGHTS TO MAKE:

Michelle Waterson // Alexa Grasso

Kron Gracie // Rick Glenn

Niko Price // Li Jingliang

James Vick // Curtis Millender

Amanda Ribas // Tecia Torres

Mackenzie Dern // Ariane Carnelossi

Matt Frevola // Khama Worthy

Luis Pena // Dong Hyun Ma

Eryk Anders // Makhmud Muradov

Gerald Meerschaert v. Andrew Sanchez

Ryan Spann // Tyson Pedro

Devin Clark // Khadis Ibragimov

Mike Davis // Steven Peterson

Thomas Gifford // Peter Barrett

Alex Morono // Dwight Grant

Max Griffin // Alan Jouban

Deiveson Figueiredo v. Winner of Cejudo / Benavidez

Tim Elliot // Alex Perez

Andre Ewell // Jin Soo Son

Miguel Baeza // Kyle Stewart

Hector Aldana (released from the UFC)

Marvin Vettori // Ian Heinisch

JJ Aldrich // Hannah Goldy

Lauren Mueller (released from the UFC)

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